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Michael Zentner biography
Born 28 March 1955 in USA

Michael ZENTER is an American guitar and violin player who was one of the founding members of the Washington, DC, band, THE MUFFINS. After leaving The Muffins (before they recorded their first album), he toured England and France with British saxophonist Lol Coxhill and others. In 1980, with Carla BLEY, Anton FIER, Bill LASWELL, and Peter BLEGVAD, Michael was a founding member of Peter Blegvad's BIG GUNS - a band that recorded no albums but was a precursor to the avantgarde band, THE GOLDEN PALOMINOS. He then worked with manager/producer Georgio 'Jools & Trinity' GOMELSKI on various projects including Georgio's ZU band (which later became the band MATERIAL).

In 1983, Michael released a solo album, 'Present Time' on Dutch Label Red Records. On 'Present Time' he collaborated with many celebrated prog artists, including Percy JONES, Kenny DENNARD, Lisa HERMAN, John GREAVES, Daevid ALLEN, Peter BLEGVAD, Fred FRITH, and Michael FINLAYSON. While the album received consistently high marks from critics, it's harp and violin duet 'Tears and Spheres' became one of the first New Age offerings on US radio.

A 1995 release on Warped Records, self-produced 'Playtime' shows far less prog tendencies but includes all-star contributions from the likes of bass players Tony LEVIN, Jeff BERLIN, Anthony JACKSON, and Percy JONES, guitarists Robby KRIEGER (The Doors), Ray GOMEZ, Vernon REID (Living Colour), Steve CATON (Tori Amos), and drummers Jerry MAROTTA, Simon PHILLIPS, and Omar HAKIM.

Michael has performed group and solo electric violin concert performances in the US, Canada, Europe, Middle East, and Latin America including a series of duo concerts and group performances with John GOODSALL and appearances with Patrick MORAZ (Yes), Tom FOWLER, Don PRESTON (Zappa), and Chad SMITH (Red Hot Chili Peppers). He has also done session work in Los Angeles and New York City.


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3.92 | 6 ratings
Present Time
4.00 | 1 ratings

MICHAEL ZENTNER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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MICHAEL ZENTNER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MICHAEL ZENTNER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Present Time by ZENTNER, MICHAEL album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.92 | 6 ratings

Present Time
Michael Zentner Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Man I like the album cover for this one. I have to say it feels to good to have played a very minor role in getting Michael Zentner on the site. Michael was a founding member of THE MUFFINS but left before they recorded an album. He is a violinist primarily and after leaving THE MUFFINS spent a great deal of time with Rio/ Avant artists in Europe and so this 1983 release features many of those people as guests. Included in this are amongst others Fred Frith, Daevid Allen, Carla Bley, John Greaves, Peter Blegvad, Frank Wyatt and Percy Jones. This is mostly an instrumental album but we do get Peter Blegvad and even more so Lisa Herman offering up vocals. I must say I was pretty excited when I heard this for the first time although that final track disappoints me still, just not my scene.

"Parts" features Daevid Allen on vocals and yes this track brings GONG to mind. The high pitched horns, vibes and more early on impress then Greaves comes in on bass before Zentner's violin arrives after a minute. The vocals will come and go and they are humerous. Sax, vibes and bass standout overall and I like the guitar 3 1/2 minutes in. "The Search" has female vocal melodies to start from Lisa as bass, drums and more join in. I like this especially the bass. Sax arrives around 3 minutes and Wyatt is credited with recorder on this one. The violin later on sounds great as they seem to jam to the end. Check out the bass late on this. Oh my! "Cliche' really reminds me of the ANTIQUE SEEKING NUNS although of course this proceeds them by many, many years. Just love the sound here though as it has a Canterbury vibe. The bass, drums, vibes and overall sound is great. Violin before 2 minutes as we get such a relaxed and trippy sound. Blegvad late on the chorus in this haunting ending.

"The Jonestown Shuffle" has Lisa on vocals as we get honking horns and a catchy groove. Hard not to like this one. Bley is on sax here and we get some nice guitar as well. "Chapter VII" features vibes, sax, drums, violin and bass. Vocals from Lisa and some guitar too. Check out the violin that follows Herman's vocals, and I love the ending with the dissonant sax. "A Piece Of Odd" is catchy with violin out front, lots of horns too. "The Case Of The Stolen Riff" opens with violin as piano from Frith, sax, drums and more help out. I like the guitar that follows, at least I think that's guitar, avant stuff and Frith is credited with e-bow guitar on this one along with yelling(haha). Not surprisingly this is the most experimental track because this is the one that Frith is on. A calm with laid back sax, vibes, drums and bass follow. Violin joins in as we get a familiar riff(haha). The stolen riffs continue. "Tears And Spheres" is the second longest track at over 7 minutes and the one I can't get into. Mostly we get violin and harp in this mournful piece that seems to drag on.

A 4.5 stars wouldn't have been out of place for this if it wasn't for the last tune, just my tastes of course. Regardless, this is a great album that I highly recommend.

Thanks to historian9 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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